Tignanello 2011

Climate

The autumn and winter seasons of 2010-2011 were characterized by very cold and rainy weather; the last days of 2010, marked by abundant snowfall, were then followed by an intensely cold period. The first months of the year, instead, were rather dry, and early spring quite mild in its temperatures, relieving worries of a return of cold weather; early April could even be termed warm, leading to an early bud burst, ten days ahead of normal seasonal averages. The growing season, with little rainfall and mild temperatures, was very favorable up until July, almost cool in its weather, and the various phases of the growth and development of the vines by then had fallen into place. After August 10th, however, temperatures climbed significantly, leading to a climate which was almost desert-like, with severe drought and high heat. These climatic conditions did not change until mid-September and even beyond, and the vines suffered from this prolonged wave of torrid temperatures, which slowed the ripening of the grape; the successive change in the climate after September 20th, however, was of great benefit, and the important temperature swings from daytime warmth to evening and nighttime coolness allowed the crop to evolve optimally towards complete ripeness. The harvest of the Sangiovese, the principal and dominant variety in the Tignanello vineyard, began on September 27th and terminated during the first ten days of October. The Cabernet Franc had an excellent development and the grapes ripened quite regularly; thanks to the excellent climatic conditions, the grapes were picked between September 20th and 26th. The harvest of the Cabernet Sauvignon, finally, took place essentially during the first ten days of October, beginning with the earliest-ripening vineyard parcels and finishing in the highest zones, where ripening was more regular and uniform. Total annual rainfall: 21 inches (52 centimeters) Average daily temperatures April 1st-October 31st: 67.5° Fahrenheit (19.75 ° centigrade) Total rainfall April 1st-Ocotber 31st: 10 inches (25.3 centimeters)

Vinification

The hot and dry growing season required a careful and attentive selection during all the salient moments of harvesting operations; during the picking it was essential to select the grape bunches well, with particular attention to exposure to the sun and the integrity of the berries. The picking, carried out entirely by hand, took the different grape varieties into consideration, but also the exposure and the altitude of the various parcels of the Tignanello vineyard; the plots were harvested one by one to enable the grapes to be fermented on the basis of the special characteristics, the particular expressions, of the their terroir. Once in the cellars, the grapes were destemmed and then went to the manual sorting tables; in this phase the attention to detail was at maximum levels, the objective was that of excluding that small percentage of shriveled or overripe berries in order to bring only grapes of perfect integrity to the fermenting tanks. During the fermentation and the period of skin contact in the conical fermenting tanks, the must was gradually transformed into wine, and extreme care was given to the aromas, to the extraction of color, and to a handling of tannins aimed at sweetness and elegance; all of this required great sensitivity, a profound knowledge of the grapes, and a constant attention to the wine, which was run off its skins only after regular daily tastings. After its separation from the skins, the wine was put through complete malolactic fermentation – in barrel – to add additional finesse and drinking pleasure. A 12-14 month aging in French and Hungarian oak barrels, some new, some already used once, then began; during this period, the various lots, fermented and aged separately by variety and by vineyard variability, matured in the oak and were then blended a few months before bottling.

Tasting Notes

The 2011 Tignanello is an intense ruby red in color with purple highlights. The wine is ripe on the nose with notes of dark fruit and with much underlying freshness on the aromatic finish; plum fruit dominates the aromatic gamut along with cherries, and the aromas evolve with vigor and balance towards sensations of mint and liquorice. On the palate, though still young, the wine is ready and inviting, rich and harmonious; excellent the balance of the flavors thanks to the tonic acidity and the solidity and suppleness of the tannins. The finish and aftertaste are rich and savory and are characterized by a sweet persistence and length.

Tignanello

The Wine

Tignanello was the first Sangiovese to be aged in barriques, the first contemporary red wine blended with untraditional varieties (specifically Cabernet) and one of the first red wines in the Chianti Classico region that didn’t use white grapes. Tignanello is a milestone. It’s produced with a selection of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

Tignanello

Mild and dry winter weather marked the beginning of the 2020 growing season in Chianti Classico, only at the end of March did the area experience a brief cold spell. These climatic conditions prompted early bud break. Spring brought average rainfall and rather cool temperatures while the following summer months were hot, uninterrupted by extreme heat events and favored with brief periods of rain showers that provided grape clusters with perfect conditions for optimal growth and ripening. The month of September, when harvesting operations got underway, was defined by scattered light precipitation, especially at the end of the month, that allowed the fruit to complete phenolic maturity. The harvest window was an intense three weeks, from September 20th up until October 9th, picking began with Sangiovese and Cabernet Franc and was completed with Cabernet Sauvignon.

This growing season’s climate trends challenged us to be focused and diligent both in the vineyards during harvesting activities and when grapes were brought to the cellar where sorting operations and initial winemaking processes were essential to achieve optimal results. During fermentation in truncated conical tanks, each individual must was macerated on the skins giving particular emphasis to preserving aromas, extracting color, and encouraging desirable tannins that were supple and elegant. Racking was performed after rigorous daily sampling and tasting. Once separated from the skins, the wine was transferred into small oak barrels where it underwent malolactic fermentation to accentuate aromatic finesse and complexity. Aging took place in French and Hungarian oak barrels, partly new and partly second passage, for a total of 15 months: after an initial period of aging the lots separately, they were blended then completed barrel aging. Tignanello, made primarily with Sangiovese and a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, underwent an additional 12-month period of aging in the bottle before being released.

Tignanello is produced exclusively from the vineyard of the same name, a parcel of some 140 acres (57 hectares) with limestone-rich soils and a southwestern exposure at 1150-1325 feets (350-400 meters) above sea level at the Tignanello estate. It was the first Sangiovese wine to be aged in small oak barrels, the first modern red wine to use such non-traditional varieties as Cabernet in the blend, and among the first red wines from the Chianti Classico area to be produced without white grapes. The wine, originally called "Chianti Classico Riserva Vigneto Tignanello" (a Chianti Classico Riserva from the Tignanello vineyard), was produced for the first time from a single vineyard parcel in 1970, when the blend contained 20% of Canaiolo and 5% of Trebbiano and Malvasia, both white grapes, and the wine aged in small oak barrels. In 1971 it became a Tuscan red table wine rather than a Chianti Classico, and was called Tignanello. In the 1975 vintage the percentage of white grapes was definitively eliminated from the blend. Ever since 1982, the blend has been the one currently used. Tignanello is bottled only in favorable vintages, and was not produced in 1972, 1973,1974, 1976, 1984, 1992, and 2002.

Intensely ruby red in color, Tignanello 2020 has exceptional aromatic complexity: notes of ripe red fruit especially cherries, strawberries and blackberries are accompanied by delicate floral hints of violets, mallow blossoms and roses. Its bouquet is completed by notes of roasted coffee and cocoa powder. The vibrant entry gives way to a caressing layered mouthfeel. The wine closes with spicy notes of pepper and licorice that merge with pleasant sensations of aromatic herbs for a fresh, lengthy finish.

James Suckling 97/100   Vinous 96/100

Tenuta Tignanello

Tenuta Tignanello

The Tenuta Tignanello estate is in the heart of Chianti Classico, in the gently rolling hillsides between the Greve and Pesa river valleys. It extends over an area of 319 hectares (788 acres), of which about 130 (321 acres) are dedicated to vines. Two of the estate’s prized vineyards are on the same hillside, Tignanello and Solaia, on soils that originated from marine marlstone from the Pliocene period rich in limestone and schist. The vines enjoy hot temperatures during the day and cooler evenings throughout the growing season. The estate’s two signature wines, Solaia and Tignanello, are produced from these vineyards and have been defined by the international press as “among the most influential wines in the history of Italian viticulture”. According to Marchesi Antinori, Solaia and Tignanello are an ongoing challenge and a never-ending passion. The Tignanello estate has vineyards of indigenous Sangiovese grapes as well as some other untraditional varieties such as Cabernet Franc.

Soil

Soil

Calcareous rocky soils with alberese (marl limestone) and marl.

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